Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Subconscious Mind


The Subconscious Mind


I’ve been thinking about this lately, especially as it pertains to writing. I don’t know about you but I often write subconsciously, ie, write what I think is ordinary/average but which turns out to have deeper meaning or significance.

For example, when I began my current WIP, it was November, and I was struggling with the first chapter. I knew I wanted it to be from my Inspector’s POV and that it had to start with the discovery of the body. Then there was the surrounding description: the place, the time, the weather, all those little things that frame the important words regarding what’s really happening. Since it was fall where I live, I gave my book the same setting. A bit cold, leaves falling, rainy weather, damp, etc. It’s always easier to write in the season you’re in, I think. It was only later I realized I had chosen an excellent time of year to begin my story. The murder was only going to take so long solve, at which point my story would be done. I imagined this to be no more than two months, bringing me to the end of the year. Since the story also revolves around the relationship between the estranged sisters, it made perfect sense to have the resolution occur at the end of the year so that the new year could ring in…well, something new. Birth and death. Death and Birth. 
I think my subconscious mind somehow knew to set the story at that particular time of the year.

Could it have been chance? Coincidence? Possibly. But I don’t think so. For the simple reason that it’s happened too many times. I suddenly realize that something I’ve written is—not to crow too loudly—a little bit brilliant, and it wasn’t planned. Sometimes I notice it right away, but sometimes, as in the above instance, I don’t realize it until later.

I’ll share one other curious incident that happened recently. As I was researching Tarot Cards I came across the amazing Visconti-Scorfza deck which I mentioned on my lastpost. I also posted a picture of the Ten of Swords from the deck, which I find extraordinary beautiful. So of course I used the card in my story, right? Only afterwards do I go and look up the meaning of the card, which is uncannily appropriate for what’s going on:

"The idea of completion and a group of people, associated with the meaning of the number ten, take on rather negative connotations in the suit of Swords. The Querant should beware of getting involved in a group of people whose problems will cause trouble for the Querant, though this may not be possible if they are members of one's own family or people to whom one has a commitment. However, as the number ten also signifies the conclusion of something, and the beginning of a new phase, this card can indicate that problems, conflict and pain are coming to an end and that the Querant is now experiencing the worst point of a crisis, after which the situation will improve. This is sometimes described as a card of ruin and disaster, but also offers hope for a brighter future."


Was it chance I chose the Ten of Swords? Coincidence? Sure, it could have been. But I think my subconscious mind pulled this information out of the vault of memories that's buried beneath all the immediate stuff I need to pull out of my hat. I think my subconscious mind knows all the stuff I’ve forgotten and sometimes I tap into it.

According to Brian Tracy* “Your unconscious memory is virtually perfect. It is your conscious recall that is suspect.”

What do you think?



* Brian Tracy is the CEO of a big company specializing in development training for individuals and companies. I just happened to come across the quote while googling the subconscious mind. Figured I’d give him credit. It’s an interesting quote. 

 

16 comments:

  1. I think the subconscious mind is brilliant and will come up with extraordinary things when we let it.
    And if there's deeper meanings in my stories, you bet is was subconscious, because I didn't put them there on purpose.

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    1. But if only we could tap into it at will rather than by chance...

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  2. I believe there is such a thing as subconscious writing :) And even translating :) When I sometimes read my finished translation I see it looks much better than I thought while writing it, which means I did it good subconsciously.

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  3. My subconscious mind is much, much smarter than the other one. I wish they would talk to each other more...

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  4. Oh, I definitely believe the subconscious mind knows what it's doing more than our conscious mind does, especially in writing. I have had the same experience of throwing something "random" or "unimportant" into a story only to have it end up being crucial later on.

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  5. Well, if you believe that everything is ultimately connected, and there are no coincidences, then you can look at it as everything falling into place as it should be. Taken another way, you let the universe flow through you, not struggling against it, so everything worked out as it needed to. Thank your higher power for the help and remember that's how the world works--at least when one is not struggling to make something happen.

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    1. I do believe that everything is connected tho not so sure about a higher power.But how does one 'let the universe flow through you?' Is that what the subconscious does when we let it? And how do we let our subconscious mind come to surface more? That's what I want to know.

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  6. I do believe we have all those little things lurking deep...they sneak their way in because they know they belong. I think that's why, when we wake up in the middle of the night everything we think is brilliant...we are more connected to our subconscious in the wee hours.

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    1. I think our subconscious mind stores everything, way more than we can imagine, and sometimes we can pull that stuff out, like a rabbit from a hat. Sometimes that hat doesn't work.

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  7. Perhaps everything we create derives ultimately from the subconscious. Perhaps that is where what we process of the conscious world gets cooked up into what our imagination spouts forth.

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  8. I think our subconscious mind is more present than we realize. It's kind of that "other person" on our shoulder.

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  9. Hi, Marcy,
    Happy New Year!

    Interesting post. Never really thought much about it, but it does make sense. And the quote is quite interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Your new book sounds really interesting. I like the premise!

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